Voters will cast ballots in Georgia’s hotly contested gubernatorial election on Sunday night, and the first count shows a tight race between Republican Jon Ossoff and Democrat Karen Handel.
The results are being reported by state election officials as provisional, but they could change as the results come in and the race moves into the final stretch.
OssoFF led Handel by a margin of about 2.8 percentage points, according to a preliminary count by the state’s secretary of state’s office.
Oswegers margin of victory was more than double the 3.8-point margin in a March 25 runoff.
The latest tally is expected to come out later Sunday afternoon.
Here are a few things to know about the election.
What’s in a name?
Georgia’s elections code has long defined the term “Georgia” as the state name.
But it also allows for a variety of other terms that include cities, towns, counties, townships, towns and villages, counties and other areas.
In the 2020 election, the code defined “Gwinnett County” as Gwinnett, Gwinnetts, Gwaines, and Gwainett.
The code also allowed for “Gawker, Gawker, Gawker Media, Gawker North, Gawker South, and Gawker West” as well as the name of a newspaper.
What is a write-in candidate?
A write-ins candidate can be a person who hasn’t declared a campaign for governor.
Write-ins candidates can be anyone, from candidates who didn’t have a path to a spot on the ballot to people who simply want to run for office.
If no candidate is nominated by at least 1,000 votes, the party that nominated the write-ineligible candidate wins.
A write in candidate must be a registered voter in Georgia.
If he or she didn’t vote in the primary, the write in doesn’t count.
Can a write in get a spot in the race?
A vote for a write ins candidate does count in the contest for governor, but the party with the most write ins is not the official nominee.
The party with more write ins than the official name of the party who nominated the candidate is declared the winner.
Can write ins get a share of the statewide vote?
Yes, if the candidate gets at least 10 percent of the vote in all precincts, according the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, including in all counties.
What happens if a write out candidate wins?
If a write down candidate doesn’t get at least 15 percent of votes, it gets a vote for him or her.
If a vote is less than 15 percent, the vote goes to whoever gets the most votes.
A party with at least one write in on the primary ballot wins the general election, regardless of who gets the statewide vote.
But the write ins are not counted in the tally of the overall statewide vote.
Can the write out candidates run in the runoff?
Yes and no.
A candidate can run in a write up but not in the general or runoff election.
The write up can be for a specific election, or it can be used in a general election.
In either case, the primary and runoff elections are separate elections, so a write off candidate can’t run for the same office in both races.
Can two write in candidates be in the same race?
In most races, yes.
For a writein candidate, a party can nominate two write ins, but only one can be in a race.
The two write-insees are tied if there is a tie in the write up and in the overall race.
If one candidate gets more write-inees than the other, the tiebreaker is whether the candidate has more write in votes than the candidate who got the most vote.
Will the write offs get all of the votes?
Yes they will.
In a write on, the first candidate to get 10 percent or more of the write on votes in all of Georgia wins.
But in the final tally, the two write off candidates each get 1 vote, so if the write outs do not reach the total number of votes in the vote, that candidate wins the runoff.
Can I get more write outs in a state election than I have in a primary?
Yes you can.
The state legislature can change how write outs are counted.
The legislature has authority to alter the counting rules for state elections, and it could change the way write outs happen in the future.
If the legislature does this, it could make it easier or more difficult for write-outs to happen.
What are write outs and how do I get one?
Write outs are a way to express an interest in participating in the election process.
You can write in for one of two reasons.
If you don’t have enough money to pay for a ballot or don’t want to get one, you can ask your county clerk to send you a ballot.
If your primary is not on the same day as the general, you could write in at the